One day after receiving an “A” from CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco for the selection of QB Kenny Pickett at No. 20 overall in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to receive high marks from CBS Sports after their Day 2 selections of Georgia wide receiver George Pickens and Texas A&M defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal
CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso handled the grades Friday for CBS Sports and felt very good about the Steelers’ selections.
At No. 52 overall, Pittsburgh grabbed Pickens to shore up a talented wide receiver room. For the selection, Trapasso handed out another “A” for the Steelers, citing Pickens’ true WR1 abilities.
“There’s the Pittsburgh Round 2 WR. Pickens has first-round talent and first-round film,” Trapasso writes. “Tall, long, sudden, enormous catch radius. Nasty demeanor on the field. Torn ACL and maybe some maturity issues knocked him down the board. True WR1 capabilities.”
George Pickens only caught five passes this year after tearing his ACL last March. But caught a 52 yarder in the National Title Game, a great diving grab.
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) April 30, 2022
Without the injury concern and the seemingly unfounded character concerns that were floated around, Pickens would have been in the WR1 conversation in this class. He was that dominant early in his career at Georgia. Of course, the torn ACL and the character concerns pushed him down the board to the Steelers, who did extensive work on him, even having WR coach Frisman Jackson put him through drills at Georgia’s Pro Day.
The interest was easy to see and the dots were easy to connect. Pickens steps into a WR room featuring Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool now, giving the Steelers much needed depth and versatility in the room.
Following the selection of Pickens at 52, the Steelers selected Leal at No. 84 overall in the third round, earning a “B” grade.
“His 2021 film wasn’t close to how good he was in 2020,” Trapasso writes. “In today’s day and age, it’s strange that he’s a legitimate tweener. But Steelers love those type and have to get younger on their DL. Solid value.”
— Steelers Depot 7⃣ (@Steelersdepot) April 30, 2022
In the months prior to the 2022 NFL Draft, and especially ahead of the 2021 season, Leal was projected as a first-round draft pick, so getting him late in the third round is great value for the Steelers overall.
Much like Pickens, the dots were easy to connect for the Steelers and Leal, as DL coach Karl Dunbar was at Texas A&M’s Pro Day and spent a lot of time with Leal throughout the day.
While he is a bit of a tweener, Leal is a good athlete for the position who is comfortable wearing a number of hats playing up and down the line. He has some developing to do and will be brought along slowly behind Cam Heyward and (presumably) Stephon Tuitt.